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Family Safety Hub – Health Justice Partnership

Responsible government

  • Australian Capital Territory

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
    • 10 Implement community-led and tailored initiatives to address the unique experiences and needs of communities affected by multiple forms of discrimination or inequality.
    • 11 Deliver policies and services to address the disproportionate impact of violence on particular groups.

What have we achieved so far?

In 2019 the Family Safety Hub delivered a pilot to address early intervention for pregnant women and new parents experiencing or at risk of domestic and family violence. Three heath justice partnership services ran from January to June 2019. The service tested embedding a lawyer into health care sites across Canberra to provide free access to legal information. Having lawyers embedded in health settings means women and their families can access free and confidential legal advice, practical assistance and targeted support. The service includes activities to build a shared understanding and capability of staff in relation to legal and health family safety issues, and provides structures to help maintain effective partnerships.

The service continues to operate and bring benefit.

What is next?

The ACT Government committed $580,000 over 2019-2020 to continue delivering this new legal service, and will review ongoing service funding in the first half of 2020.

What difference will we make?

The service is reaching members of the community who would have otherwise not received help. Sometimes people want to understand if they are experiencing violence, or what their legal rights and responsibilities are, before acting. The fear of police involvement or mandatory reporting are barriers for some people to be willing to have a conversation about their situation. Women experiencing domestic and family violence face barriers to access advice, including having their movements restricted by their partner.

Legal support for those affected by domestic and family violence is typically provided during or after crisis. The partnership provides earlier intervention support that is aiming to prevent women from reaching crisis.

The pilot showed that a health justice partnership makes a positive difference in the lives of those affected by domestic and family violence, their families and their children. Partnership lawyers have provided legal as well as non-legal support, including helping develop safety plans, securing Family Violence Orders, negotiating child custody arrangements, managing immigration issues, and advocating for clients in their interactions with other support services such as Child and Youth Protection Services.

This advice has helped keep families safe.

These embedded partnerships have the potential to achieve better health and justice outcomes for those most vulnerable in our community.

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